tv NBC Nightly News NBC December 26, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
on the broadcast tonight, a deadly storm roars into the northeast after bringing heavy snow and blizzard conditions to the midwest. and a wave of tornadoes to parts of the south. tonight, where the storm is hitting and the big impact on travel. plus, the latest on yet another major storm taking aim at the u.s. the cliffhanger over the budget impasse in waington. tonight, president obama cut short his vacation in hawaii, just six days before the deadline for big cuts and tax hikes. the war next door. they say the borders are more secure than ever. but look what hidden cameras found on one man's land on this side of the border. drug smuggling, alive and well. and fashion police. as retailers report on the
all-important shopping season, we report on a trend you might have missed. just what do these mannequins see in you? "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. >> good evening, i'm natalie morales in tonight for brian. and we begin with serious winter weather that is moving east. rain, snow and wind that is snarling a lot of travel plans for those trying to make it home from holiday travels. it is the same storm system that is responsible for at least three deaths and spawned record-setting tornadoes in the south over the past 24 hours. we have it all covered, and we begin with the experts who are always out in the middle of these storms. weather channel meteorologist mike seidel is just outside buffalo, new york. good evening to you, mike. >> hey, natalie. in buffalo, they're known for the snow. they average 8 feet of snowfall a season.
but so far this year, they've only had 6 1/2 inches, leaving many to wonder, where's the white? that's all changing this evening. a major snowstorm has dumped over a foot of snow across parts of the midwest. indiana got hit hard. high winds adding to the misery there. >> it's a lot better with the four-wheel drive, but yeah, it's definitely a doozy out there. >> and there's lots of snow in little rock, too. folks there had the snowiest christmas ever, with 9 inches. and it's making getting anywhere almost impossible. ice is coating windshields, branches and power lines. thousands are waiting for their electricity to come back on. >> we're going to make the best of it. we're trying to find some place with power where we can get a cup of coffee and hot cocoa. >> all of this is making for a post christmas travel nightmare. they're de-icing in it dallas as temperatures fail to break freezing. about a thousand passengers had to spend the night in the
airport. >> i'm coming down with a cold and should have been at work today. >> this is home video of a twister near jackson, mississippi. part of a band of storms that ripped through the south last night. 21 tornadoes, a record for christmas day. >> look at that tornado. it's coming towards us. >> and in mobile, alabama, you can see the flashes as this tornado ripped apart transformers, leading thousands without power. they've got a big clean-up ahead. and while no major injuries were reported, it was a very scary night for a lot of people. >> it's the most horrible feeling in the world, to watch it coming at you, and there's nowhere to go. it was just terrifying. really terrifying. >> that was ellen sear and this is ellen sear's suv, the one she rode out the tornado in, as it was passing right overhead. if this tree had not locked down this suv, ellen may have very well been the first casualty from the historic christmas day outbreak. >> tonight, from boston down to d.c., winds could gust over 50 miles per hour, and flooding
could be a problem along the east coast. not welcome news to folks in new jersey, still reeling from hurricane sandy, and now stocking up for what's expected to be a big storm. tonight, new york governor andrew cuomo has activated the state's emergency operation center. he does not want to repeat certainly the fiasco, the power fiasco that followed hurricane sandy. meanwhile, across the upper state, we're looking for as much as 15 inches of wind-driven snow. natalie, back to you. >> all right, mike seidel in buffalo, new york. thanks, mike. at the airport, as mike just reported, lots of cancellations and delays on the boards. nbc's katy tur is at new york's laguardia airport. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, natalie. as you know, the day after christmas is one of the busiest travel days of the year. and now it is one of the most grueling. here at laguardia airport, more than 100 flights have been cancelled, and across new york city area airports, delays can reach nearly three hours long. across the country, much of the same, as the storm is felt from
coast to coast. nationwide, more than 1,400 flights cancelled today alone. and there are fears of a ripple effect into another busy holiday weekend. so far, american airlines is suffering the most. 500 flights cancelled, 200 for delta. it's rebooking for free and hopes to be back to normal by tomorrow afternoon. still, if you are headed to the airport tonight, you might want to consider packing a sandwich, or maybe even a pillow. naflt? >> and lots of patience. katy tur at laguardia, thanks so much. if that's not enough, there is another storm picking up steam. kelly cass is at the weather channel headquarters with more of what we can expect the next few days. good evening, kelly. >> good evening, natalie. we're still dealing with the storm across the northeast, bringing blizzard conditions at times to western new york and western pennsylvania as well. we still have the snow accumulating right along the new york state thruway. it looks like mainly rain but mixed with snow as we head into the day tomorrow. friday, we begin to clear out
along the i-95 corridor, but still dealing with snow across upstate new york and northern new england. then our attention turns to the next storm, that is right now in the west. that will continue to develop and pull that moisture out of the gulf of mexico. so that means more showers and thunderstorms. places like little rock, down towards new orleans, mobile, alabama, and to the north, we're going to have just enough cold air in place as we get into the weekend. you will likely see snow this time for places like new york city, pittsburgh, 34 degrees for you. cincinnati, looking at 32. looks like mainly rain though across the southeast. but it looks like, natalie, we are ending 2012 on a very busy note, that's for sure, as people try to head home from the holidays or just try to get in place for the new year. >> all right, kelly cass at the weather channel, thanks. we got a clearer picture today of the forecast for the holiday shopping season. new numbers are in, and for many retailers, it is not good news. and they're hoping you hit the stores in the days ahead to make up for it. a lot of people were in stores today, but were they buying? nbc's john yang joins us from
chicago's michigan avenue tonight. good evening, john. >> reporter: good evening, natalie. just because christmas is over, it doesn't mean that the shopping is over, as well. today is the beginning of retailers' second season, and this year it's a chance to make up for some lackluster sales before christmas. in detroit, shoppers lined up before stores opened, ready to spend. >> i'm returning things and i'm buying things. >> reporter: that's the way it was across the country as americans flocked to stores to use gift cards. >> you're lucky. >> yes, i am. >> reporter: or return what was under the tree. >> consumers tend to spend more when they come in and return the gift. and that's that second season that retailers love. >> i'm going to do well today. yeah. i'm going to take advantage of it. i'm going to get as much as i can. >> be sure to check out our $5 t-shirts today. >> reporter: stores are luring with deep discounts. >> better than last week.
>> we saved a chunk of money for this day specifically. >> reporter: the savings are across the board from designer goods to electronics. >> there's good deals all over the place post christmas. on average, you're seeing signs anywhere from 50 to 60% off. >> reporter: retailers are trying to fatten the bottom line after a lackluster season when they make 40% of their annual sales. by one estimate, holiday-related spending grew only .7 of a percent between october 28th and christmas eve. spending actually dropped from last year in the northeast and the mid atlantic. the result of hurricane sandy. nationwide, spending stalled in december, with worries about the looming fiscal cliff and the tragedy in connecticut. >> we never got the christmas spirit back, going, running again. there were just so many distractions that were being thrown into consumer. >> reporter: there were some bright spots. home furnishings, women's clothing and jewelry. today, many shoppers said the season of giving continues. >> i like giving.
even to myself. >> reporter: that's the sort of spirit retailers are hoping for. analysts say people bought fewer gifts for themselves, apparently waiting for the big sales after christmas. natalie? >> john yang in chicago for us. thank you. and it is the dreaded fiscal cliff that has the president heading home early tonight from his hawaiian christmas vacation. as some lawmakers are also heading back to washington. but with just six days to go, homes for a last-minute deal may be fading. nbc's kristin welker is with us tonight from honolulu. kristen. >> reporter: natalie, good evening. with president obama flying home this evening, the political rhetoric has already started, with republicans urging action in the senate, and with democrats calling on republicans to put middle class families first. the president and first lady spent part of their christmas visiting troops in honolulu. >> we want to say thank you. we love you. >> reporter: but now he heads back to a snowy washington,
where the last hope for a deal to avert the fiscal cliff is the senate, which returns tomorrow. majority leader harry reid is devising a partial solution that could ease economic fears. >> if we go over in a chaotic fashion, where members of congress are deeply grid locked with no sign of coming together, then we're likely to go over and stay over. and that's very problematic. >> reporter: going over the cliff would restore higher bush era tax rates and trigger deep spending cuts on january 1st. congress set up the harsh mechani mechanism, hoping it would force a compmise, but it hasn't. >> washington remains on square one in the fiscal cliff talks. >> reporter: congress reached this brink before christmas when speaker john boehner failed to get enough house republicans to support his solution, threw up his hands and said it's up to leader reid and the president. >> how we get there, god only knows. >> reporter: aides say reid's plan would avoid tax increases for people making less than $250,000, eliminate spending
cuts and restore unemployment benefits. >> what needs to happen now is for a sense of desperation among lawmakers to kick in and realize that if we go past january 1st with no deal, the markets are likely to decline in a significant way and alarm most americans. they don't want to have themselves blamed for that. >> reporter: meanwhile, public pressure is mounting. countdown clocks are springing up, and today starbucks asked employees to begin writing "come together" on coffee cups. now, speaker boehner has not yet called the house back into session. meanwhile, treasury secretary tim geithner told congressional leaders today that the nation has almost reached its borrowing limit. the debate over whether to increase that limit is yet another complicating factor in these already very difficult negotiations. natalie? >> kristen welker in honolulu, thank you. we have an update on the health of president george h.w. bush in the hospital in houston. tonight nbc news has learned that his stubborn fever has gotten worse. he's in the intensive care unit,
and doctors have him on a liquid-only diet. the former president, who is 88 years old has been hospitalized with bronchitis since just after thanksgiving. when "nightly news" continues on this wednesday evening, two firefighters who survived after being lured into a deadly trap speak out for the first time. and later, a fashion trend you may have missed. why you might want to look into the eyes of those mannequins. [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus presents the cold truth. i have a cold, and i took nyquil, but i'm still "stubbed" up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] it doesn't have a decongestant. no way. [ male announcer ] sorry. alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast acting decongestant to relieve your stuffy nose. [ sighs ] thanks! [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth! [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus. ♪ oh what a relief it is! ♪ [ male announcer ] to learn more about the cold truth and save $1 visit alka-seltzer on facebook.
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two firefighters injured in that deadly attack in upstate new york are speaking out for the first time tonight in a statement issued from their hospital beds. they thanked all those in the community and around the country for their response to the attack in which a gunman set what became a massive fire and then started shooting at those who responded. two firefighters were killed before the gunman took his own life. wakes and funerals for the men will be held later this week in webster, new york. and now to our continuing series on the war next door. next year will likely see a fierce political battle over comprehensive immigration reform, and u.s. border security will be a key issue. tonight, nbc's mark potter reports from one part of southern arizona, where ranchers say the border is anything but secure, and they've got the undercover video to prove it. >> reporter: on american soil, ten miles north of the mexican border, arizona rancher jim chillton makes a disturbing
discovery. a drug smuggling camp on his land, with knapsacks, blankets, food and bales of marijuana. >> this is my private land. this is land that i own. and the druggers outrageously use my land at will. >> reporter: advocates concerned about border security have placed motion-sensitive hidden cameras near chillton's land. and what they reveal are wave after wave of mexican drug and immigrant smugglers, sometimes heavily armed, crossing into the u.s., traveling miles inside the country. chillton and his wife sue complain, they live in no man's land, unprotected by their own government. >> it's outrageous. i am a citizen of the united states. >> reporter: for neighboring rancher david beckham, it's even worse. he moved his family off the land, hearing the armed smugglers pa passing through at night. he skofs when the administration
claims the border is safer than ever. >> that's a joke. they can believe what they want. they can live in candy land. >> reporter: for miles and miles in southern arizona, this is the international border, the two countries, mexico there, the u.s. here, are separated by a four-wire fence, with hundreds of trails going from the border north into the united states. ranchers accuse the u.s. border patrol of concentrating its patrols and checkpoints miles north of where the ranchers live. >> we need to secure the border right there. at the border. >> reporter: the border patrol says it positions its agents where they are most effective, and that increased manpower and technology have dramatically reduced illegal border crossings. >> yes, there is traffic out on those ranch lands. communities continue to be impacted to a certain extent. but you can't discount the fact that the gains that have been made over the course of the last few years. >> reporter: but the ranchers
see it differently. >> the border is not secure. the border is worse than it's ever been. >> reporter: they're most afraid when the sun goes down, and their land comes alive with mexican smugglers headed north. mark potter, nbc news, arizona. >> and there's late word tonight of a huge settlement involving toyota and lawsuits related to claims of sudden acceleration in some of its cars. the settlement is worth up to $1.4 billion. some of the money will go to owners who said they sold their cars at reduced prices because of bad publicity over those claims of sudden acceleration. a lawyer for the plaintiffs called it the largest settlement involving auto defects in u.s. history. and coming up next, a girl, her dog and what could be the best christmas present ever. i'm done! "are you a cool mom?" i'm gonna find out. [ female announcer ] swiffer wetjet's pads are better than ever.
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after almost three weeks of being treated for a lung infection and surgery to remove gallstones. mandela was moved to his home in johannesburg where he will continue his recovery. china opened the world's longest high-speed rail line today. the train travels more than 1,400 miles from beijing in the north to the south of china, a trip that until now took 20 hours. the new train traveling at 186 miles per hour cuts the time to just eight hours. hundreds of the new trains will be put into service on this line alone, as china moves toward its goal of building a nationwide high-speed rail network. and back in this country, a lost and found story involving a best friend. it all began christmas eve outside a grocery store here in new york where a security camera shows a man stealing a dog and then walking away. that dog's name is marlee. a woman who saw him trying to sell the dog thought something
was up, so she bought marlee herself, took him to a vet and it turns out he had a microchip which was scanned. as a result, the king charles spaniel was reunited with his 7-year-old owner yesterday afternoon. perhaps the best christmas present she could have wished for. a suspect was taken into custody and charged with stealing marlee. and up next, beware of the fashion police. those mannequins may be smarter than you think. she knows you like no one else. and you wouldn't have it any other way. but your erectile dysfunction - you know, that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis.
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finally tonight, with the holiday shopping frenzy winding down, we thought we would let you in on a little secret. some of those mannequins that appear as lifeless, empty figures are getting a new look and may also be watching you just as you watch them. nbc's stephanie gosk on new recruits to the fashion police. >> reporter: there's always been something a little unnerving about mannequins. the poses. not exactly natural. the bodies, not entirely normal. and those big and unblinking stairs. one italian mannequin company thought it was time for an upgrade, something a little more human. >> when we came up with this idea to combine technology with
the mannequin, what we called the icy mannequin. we made sure to put it in one of the two eyes. >> reporter: this mannequin can actually see shoppers, with a camera placed right behind one of its eyes. >> the blue square says you're a male. >> reporter: the technology relies on facial recognition software. unlike security cameras, normally up high, these cameras are eye-level. they can log gender, race and age before a shopper even realizes it. ever feel like somebody is watching you? good for security, but even more important, for understanding behavior. the i.c. tracks what people buy, how long they linger. if they've ever been in the store before. >> our clients look for brands. they need to know who is their client. >> reporter: so far, only a few dozen have been sold in stores in europe and the u.s. but the orders keep coming in. even though there is some skepticism on the street. >> i think it's kind of creepy, actually.
i don't like that idea at all. it just sort of seems a bit like big brother. >> that's weird. sick. >> especially if i was shopping in the underwear section. >> reporter: one high-end retailer in manhattan says it won't use the i.c., worried it may be an invasion of privacy. >> with the mannequin, i think it's even more frightening. it's almost as though -- remember that old movie "fx," somebody is watching you. so it's concerning. >> reporter: and in this economy, the last thing stores want to do is scare people away. >> if you're doing things the comfortable might not be comfortable with, you might have crossed the line. >> reporter: maybe if the mannequins were a little more human. >> yeah, i think that's a great idea. that way if you need something, you can ask them where it is. >> reporter: of course, there are actual real people already hired to do that. consecutive knee gosk, nbc news, new york. >> and that's our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you for being with us. i'm natalie morales in for brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.